London’s tech boom has the potential to reduce the city’s chronically high office vacancy rate, a new report says.
Commercial realtor CBRE’s annual market outlook for London had good news about the city’s industrial vacancy rate that is 7.2 per cent, the lowest since the 2008 recession.
But the downtown office vacancy rate increased slightly to 19.2 per cent and has been stubbornly high for years.
Peter Whatmore, senior vice president of CBRE Southwestern Ontario, said London’s tech sector is becoming a leading economic driver, creating more than 1,000 jobs last year.
Tech companies prefer to be located in the core and have potential to take up more office space in coming years.
They would be following the lead of video game developer Digital Extremes that leased new space in Citi Plaza and Voices.com that moved into larger quarters in the Bell building, Whatmore said.
Info-Tech is also moving ahead with a renovation of the former Sterling Marketing Products building on Ridout Street that will become its new headquarters.
“A lot of it is being driven by entrepreneurial firms and the talent coming out of the digital media programs at Fanshawe College. They are graduating some really smart young people,” Whatmore said.
The completion of Fanshawe’s new digital media campus in downtown London will help fuel more tech development, he said.
A number of highrise residential towers pitched for the core also builds momentum, Whatmore said.
“There’s a real movement across North America of people wanting to live within walking distance to their place of business. London is nicely positioned for people to live, work and play…
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